Japan: International Sign language learners triple ahead of 2020 games



© Bbuilder - iStock

A drive to increase sign language skills ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games has seen interest tripled in learning to communicate with deaf visitors through the pidgin system International Sign.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has established a program to subsidise half the cost of tuition for studying International Sign, as well as the American Sign system used in the USA. The number of students using this financial support in 2014 was 110; 341 used it in 2018.

In other areas of Japan, the drive is also increasing ahead of the country once again becoming a worldwide focus point in sport (having held the Rugby World Cup in Ocotber/November 2019). The Japan International Sign Language Interpreters & Guides Association (JIIGA) has teamed up with the Hiroshima City Deaf Society to hold International Sign courses with the aim of guiding foreign visitors to sites related to the 1945 atomic bombing. And the Nippon Foundation Volunteer Support Center, the organization responsible for fostering volunteers at the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, has launched an International Sign course.

The Japanese Federation of the Deaf, which is campaigning to bring the 2025 Deaflympics to Japan, is releasing a book this November titled “Let’s Try Kokusai Shuwa” (International Sign).

Source: The Japan Times